The early years workforce 

The decision to change Maths and English requirements at level three has had a major impact on sector recruitment; recent announcements of the reinstatement of functional skills have been much welcomed and it will be important to monitor progress in recruitment, retention and progression going forward. It is vital to understand all facets of entrenched workforce challenges in the sector to produce comprehensive and targeted solutions to complex problems and support all early years professionals in achieving their full potential.

The first wave of the About Early Years survey carried out with nurseries and pre-schools this summer, has made a start in tracking key workforce statistics including: 

  • The scale of the recruitment crisis impacting on the sector - there were an estimated 24,600 vacant posts in summer 2017 and over four fifths of settings recruiting said vacancies were hard to fill.
  • Qualification levels are declining - it will be vital to monitor trends carefully in view of  rising cost pressures, recruitment difficulties and recent changes to funding rates.  
  • Sector pay is on the rise, largely due to the National Living Wave, but rates still lag-behind England averages. 
  • Men account for 5% of the early years workforce, an increase since the last large-scale measures provided by the DfE 2013 Childcare and Early Years Provider Survey.

Check out the latest bulletin to see the full picture

You can also see a more detailed analysis of our findings on men in the early years workforce here

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